Category Archives: Uptown / Lower Queen Anne

KeyArena Redevelopment Progresses with MOU

By Joe Veyera

A more than $600 million plan to redevelop KeyArena with the hopes of luring professional hockey and men’s basketball to Seattle moved one step closer to reality on Monday, after the Seattle City Council voted 7-1 to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Oak View Group.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien was the lone dissenting vote, while Lorena Gonzalez was not in attendance.

Under the agreement, OVG is responsible for the entirety of project costs, in addition to overruns, along with $40 million in neighborhood transportation improvements over the term of a 39-year lease, as informed by a mobility action plan also paid for by the group.

Construction is expected to begin by the end of next year, with an opening of the renovated venue in October 2020.

KeyArena in its current state. Photo by Joe Veyera

KeyArena in its current state. Photo by Joe Veyera

“This redevelopment unlocks the potential for the best new arena for sports, entertainment, high-tech expos, concerts and more — with partners who have already demonstrated their commitment to partnering with the City for success,” she said.

In a separate statement, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda said she was, “proud to support a project aligned with the progressive values and shared prosperity for which Seattle is now legendary,” as she cast her first vote.

“We are experiencing a unique moment in our City’s history and with it comes an opportunity to preserve one of our cities most iconic public assets for the benefit of the public good,” she said. “This project recreates a world-class, multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility (including women’s sports!) which will become a cherished part of Seattle’s legacy.

Monday’s vote, while a key milestone in the process, won’t be the last one by the council. The MOU provides a framework for a development agreement, lease agreement, and Seattle Center Integration Agreement, all of which still require council approval in the coming months.

Syndicated from the

The Ruins: Possible Closure In January, Listed for Sale

By Sarah Anne Lloyd

A two-story commercial building in Uptown (or lower Queen Anne, depending on your preference) is for sale. Built in 1928, it stands out for that classic warehouse style, with huge, multi-paned windows and an ornamented roofline. But what really makes it stand out is inside: The bottom floor is home to the event space and members-only dining club The Ruins.

Both the building and the business are for sale. A representative for the Ruins told us that without a buyer, the business will close in January after their annual January 1 member dinner.

The elaborately-designed space features four separate event venues: The Ballroom, with hand-painted murals; reception space the Chocolate Room; and both a large and small dining room.

All of them are eclectically decorated, from an outdoor courtyard covered in ferns to large animal statues—including a commanding life-size elephant—to commanding formal chandeliers. The walls are painted in bold, bright colors under high ceilings. French doors can either open up the space or create more intimate gatherings.

Even more behind-the-scenes spaces, like kitchens, are colorful and offbeat.

Upstairs, two vacant office suites provide more space, but aren’t quite as exciting-looking (yet).

When it was first built, according to its historic designation, the building was home to an auto body-building plant for Tricoach Manufacturing Company. Later, it became a drafting office and then a pottery manufacturer. The Ruins moved in and remodeled in the early 1990s.

The building’s listed for $4.3 million.

Syndicated from Seattle Curbed

Key Arena Redevelopment Project Moves Forward with Community Input

By Joe Veyera

As KeyArena hosted the third day of the Seattle/King County Clinic on Saturday morning, community members and stakeholders were invited to discuss the venue’s future just steps away.

For four hours, hundreds filtered through the Cornish Playhouse, the site of a design open house as the Oak View Group seeks input on what a looming $600 million redevelopment of the facility could look like.

“This project from day one has been an open and transparent process,” said Lance Lopes, director of OVG Seattle. “We’ve been very clear about wanting to make sure that we listen, that we engage, and that we talk to the people to make sure that this arena truly is as good as it can be.”

Representatives from CAA Icon — a consulting firm for sports and entertainment facility owners and operators — and architecture firms Populous, DLR Group, and Swift Company were on hand to hear what concerns and ideas the public has for the project. Attendees could give their thoughts on everything from the design of the arena’s interior and how all four sides of the building interact with the surrounding area, to how the development can be fair and equitable for all citizens.

Several local community groups, including the Uptown Alliance, the Queen Anne and South Lake Union Community Councils, and both the Office of Arts & Culture and the Uptown Arts & Culture Coalition were also represented on Saturday. Lopes called those groups the “heroes” in the process, because of their countless volunteer hours spent on the project.

Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw (who represents District 7, which includes the Seattle Center campus) said she regards the redevelopment of KeyArena as, “one of the most important things that have happened in our city.”

“This is going to transform our city,” Bagshaw said. “I’ve lived here — my husband and I raised two kids here — for 40 years, and in addition to the work that we’ve done around the waterfront that is connecting the waterfront back to our city, this is going to make Seattle Center again the center of Seattle.”

Lopes also acknowledged what the redevelopment of venue could mean for the rest of the campus.

“I think we all recognize just how special Seattle Center is to this community, and for us to be able to reinvest in this arena, and create another 50 years of expansive growth and excitement here at the Center is something we’re really proud of,” Lopes said.

Among those hopeful that this effort could be the one that gets across the finish line, and provides a venue for a future men’s professional basketball and hockey franchise in the city is longtime advocate Brian Robinson.

Robinson, who sits on the city’s Arena Community Advisory Group, said the northern part of the city has room for development — on top of recent development — and the idea of bringing an amenity like an NBA/NHL facility to the area is an exciting one.

“There are challenges to the access, and everybody knows that,” Robinson said, “but I think that there is a good story to tell about just this historic Seattle Center campus, having a major reinvestment and becoming a centerpiece for the entire northern downtown district.”

But along with Seattle Center itself, Bagshaw expressed her interest in what the efforts may mean for the surrounding neighborhoods as well.

“I’m very excited about what we can do here in Uptown, in Belltown, in South Lake Union, to really make our businesses a place where they are going to be supported, they are going to be thriving, and there’s just a lot more opportunity,” she said.

The City Council could vote to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and OVG as soon as Dec. 4. That would put the project on track for completion in October of 2020.

Whether the council will ultimately vote that early remains unclear. Both mayoral candidates, in interviews with the Queen Anne & Magnolia News last week, expressed some skepticism. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in addition to no public funding and a real transportation plan, the plan has to “move KeyArena forward as a fantastic public space.”

“I think Seattle Center is one of those jewels in Seattle,” she said, “but it’s in serious need of upgrades. If we can get someone to pay for those upgrades, that would be a plus.”

Activist and urban planner Cary Moon said she hasn’t seen enough investment in the transportation solution to be convinced it can work, and wants to be sure it’s a good financial deal for the city.

“My No. 1 goal is to protect the public interest, so that means protecting the Uptown neighborhood, [and] making sure that the businesses that are already there will thrive from the increase in people in the neighborhood,” she said.

For more information on the project, visit or 

Story syndicated from the, photo credit Joe Veyera.

Days Numbered for Musicians Mural in Lower Queen Anne

By Stephen Cohen

It’s a familiar site for those driving by the former home of Silver Platters on 705 5th Ave. North in lower Queen Anne, but it won’t be much longer.

The large mural painted on the back of the building — and the building itself, which was recently home to the Seattle Immersive Theatre — will be coming down over the next couple of months. In its place, a five-story, 99-unit apartment complex will rise, according to plans submitted to the city.

The mural was painted over three long weekends in 2012 by students attending a one-time summer camp by local artist Don Rockwell. According to Silver Platters owner Mike Batt, the mural had a dual purpose: In addition to paying tribute to artists like Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix, murals by local artists tended to keep graffiti artists away.

While he has fond memories of the project, Rockwell isn’t exactly mourning the upcoming loss.

“I wouldn’t bend over backwards trying to preserve it. It was a student effort, and they had fun doing it and they learned a lot,” Rockwell said.

Rockwell said the design, which features artists from Louis Armstrong to Bob Dylan, was meant to show the connection of different types of pop music, from gospel to blues to jazz to rock and roll.

Rockwell’s work can be seen throughout the city, including at the current Silver Platters location in Sodo, which features an indoor mural that pays “homage to the history of music in the Northwest,” according to Batt.

As a longtime sign painter and mural artist, Rockwell is used to the transitory nature of his work, which helps explain his laissez-faire attitude toward its future.

“I’m surprised it was up there as long as it was,” he said.

In addition to painting new murals on the outside of Silver Platters in Sodo, Rockwell is currently working on a project at the Lagunitas brewery in Ballard.

Story syndicated from, featured photo credit Grant Hindsley.